Clevedon coach Nick Hill is setting no targets yet for his side as the pressure mounts to get out of the South West One drop spots.
Clevedon were propping up the table going into yesterday’s basement battle with Matson and two wins away form getting out of the bottom three.
Halfway will have been and gone by Christmas – and the team on the bottom going into the New Year faces a huge challenge getting out of trouble.
The bottom three at Christmas 2016 were Midsomer Norton, Chard and Kingsbridge – and all three went down.
You would expect Hill to target Matson, second-bottom Teignmouth and North Petherton one place above the relegation places as must-win games. He didn’t.
Hill said target setting is meaningless unless the squad knuckles down at training and does something about a sometimes casual approach to availability.
“There’s no great secret – the harder we work the better our chances of winning the games we need to win,” said Hill.
“There are games we got close to winning – Launceston (21-19) and Keynsham (19-17) are good examples – but just could not close them out.
“If we work hard in training and get out best side out on Saturday afternoon we can turn things round.
“There is no point setting targets though for a team that is picked midweek and within 48 hours there are so many changes it looks like a different team.
“Last season when we were flying guys were queuing up to play. It isn’t a winning team this year and the enthusiasm has flagged a bit.”
Hill said a step in the right direction for the team would be a strong performance over 80 minutes, like the a 59-7 Somerset Cup win over Burnham last Saturday.
“I know they are a division below us and aren’t having a great season either, but the performance was more important than the result,” said Hill.
“The performance was pretty good and if we can step it up another level we can win games in our division.”
Hill hasn’t been shy about bringing in the youngsters this season and is pleased to report how well they are doing.
Among the players Hill wants to mention in dispatches are Mason Parslow, Warren Taylor, Jack Crew, Tom Willis and scrum-half Rhys Talbot. “Youngsters are the lifeblood of a club like ours: without them we are going nowhere as we don’t have pots of money to throw at players,” said Hill.
“It is hard for the youngsters coming in to an unsettled side and I would like to have a few more experienced players around the at times.
“The commitment from our next generation is superb and you can see what assets they are going to be to the club.”